On the Edge of Orthodox Medicine
– Thu 23 May, 16:00 – 17:30

#1 Presenter: Anders Bank Lodahl, PhD
Visiting Researcher,  Dept. of Sports Sci. & Clinical Biomechanics, Uni. of Southern Denmark.

Skodsborg Badesanatorium, 1898-1992 (30 min.)
Skodsborg Badesanatorium was founded in 1898 on the Seventh-Day Adventist principles of health it promoted health through a preventive holistic lifestyle based on vegetarianism without unhealthy stimuli as alcohol, tobacco, coffee and tea with treatments with light, water and fresh air. These principles were in the beginning of the 20th century a part of the health reform movement, which held a mild critic against the established medical system.

Even though the orthodox medicine did incorporate some of these ideas, they were never fully accepted. All through its existents the sanitarium had to interpret its commitment to these principles in relation to the orthodox medicine and the established medical system. The sanitarium is an example of how a private health institution thrived while in being alternative enough to provide, what patients could not get at the public hospitals, but still orthodox enough to keep its scientific reliability.

Especially in the 1930s the founding doctor, Carl Ottosen, succeeded in placing the sanitarium in the forefront of the orthodox medicine by its focus on preventive medicine and especially the physical treatments deriving from the health reform movement. In this period the sanatorium called itself the largest health resort in Scandinavia.

Less successful was the sanitarium in the 1980s, when it, inspired by the new preventive focus in orthodox medicine, tried to renew their image of preventive medicine build on an outspoken Adventist holistic view on health. This turn also included treatments like acupuncture, which were not fully accepted in the orthodox medicine and rejected by the Adventist organization because of religious concerns. This holistic turn was a part of an unsuccessful effort to find new ways to attract new private patients before its closure in 1992.

#2 Presenter: Ulrik Bak Kirk

More Than A Thousand Therapies in Snogebæk (30 min.)
Between 1876 and 1927, more than a thousand working class children of Copenhagen, mainly diagnosed with scrofula, were sent to therapy in Snogebæk on the Danish island Bornholm in the Baltic Sea.

Scrofula was split into soft and severe versions. The first mentioned was hydrotherapeuticly treated in Snogebæk, whereas the latter received open-air treatment at coastal hospitals like Refsnæs. Distribution separated different objects of scrofula that otherwise might have clashed,
which from 1909 and onwards was helped by the new diagnostic tool: the tuberculin skin test.

On the one hand, the initiative was closely coordinated between medical supervisors and the Municipality of Copenhagen. Thus, it was an institutionalized practice, in which scrofula was enacted. On the other hand, the medical entity scrofula as scientific object was subject to change in the last quarter of the 19th century due to the German physician Robert Koch’s identification of the specific causative agent of tuberculosis in 1882.

At the time, it was a widely accepted that tuberculosis was an inherited disease, but Koch proved otherwise. For this reason, the concept of infectious diseases became a matter of political awareness around the turn to the 20th century. However, the hydrotherapies in Snogebæk went on.

Donating Brains and Organs: More Than Waste?
– Thu 23 May, 16:00 – 17:30

#1 Presenter: Thomas Erslev, PhD Fellow

Archiving Human Brains – Temporality and materiality in a Danish collection of 9.479 pathological brains (30 min.)
Collected 1945-1982 at Psychiatric Hospital Risskov, the brain collection is the subject of my PhD thesis. In my talk, I will present the main findings and perspectives from my research, which identifies temporality and materiality as key concerns in ethical, epistemological, political, as well as quotidian engagements with the collection throughout its existence.

Actors ranging from psychiatrists and pathologists to lay people, politicians and religious authorities mobilise understandings of time and matter, which underpin their conceptions of the brain collection as either wasteful or valuable, threatening or promising.

#2 Presenter: Maria Olejaz
External lecturer, Centre for Medical Science and Technology Studies,
Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen

Making bodies available for dissection: A discussion of historical and contemporary relations between bodies and medicine in Denmark (30 min.)
Anatomical dissection is a medical practice which has taken place for centuries and continues to be relevant in medical education and research today. It is a practice which relies on a supply of dead human bodies.

Based on historical work as well as in-depth qualitative interviews with body donors and ethnographic fieldwork in Danish dissection labs, this paper situates anatomical dissection in a larger historical and societal frame.

It pays attention to the changing conditions of making bodies available for dissection, juxtaposing 18th century royal decrees that made available bodies of criminals and the poor with today’s willed donation programs. Furthermore, it asks what this availability of bodies means for the culture of medicine as well as what it says about historical and contemporary understandings of death and of the changing relationship between the state and the individual.